Penny Tweedie Photographs, 1975

31 July 2018

Penny Tweedie’s photographs of post-civil-war East Timor are among the best-recognised images of that dramatic period in Timor-Leste’s modern history. The National Library of Australia now holds the original Tweedie photograph collection. We present here a guide to the full set of Tweedie’s Timor images from September 1975.

A small sample of Penny Tweedie Timor images from 1975.

Penny Tweedie was among the first group of journalists and photographers to go to East Timor after the short civil war of August/September 1975.

Prior to this she recorded in Darwin the arrival from Dili of a group of refugees on the ship, Macdili. In Timor she captured images of the Fretilin leadership and its newly formed Falintil armed forces in Dili and on patrol outside Dili, going as far west as Balibo.

Tweedie photographed ordinary East Timorese recovering from the effects of the war, including receiving humanitarian aid and medical attention. She also took many photographs of prisoners held by Fretilin, mostly UDT* followers but also an Indonesian soldier captured on the East Timor side of the border.

Important to Timor-Leste’s archival record
Penny Tweedie’s images have long been recognised by East Timorese as a key record-set in the new nation’s history. Many of her images appear repeatedly on Timorese history and political websites and on social media – though usually without permission or attribution.

More formally, Timor-Leste’s 2002-2005 truth and reconciliation commission, CAVR*, purchased a set of prints of key images which today can be seen displayed at the successor institution, Centro Nasional Chega! It is also known that during his period as Timor-Leste President, Jose Ramos-Horta was negotiating with Penny Tweedie to acquire a fuller set of her images for Timor-Leste archival purposes.

CHART arranged with Tweedie in 2009/10 to put online a full set of her 1975 images as a guide to the collection for researchers and Timor-Leste archival institutions. Sadly her unexpected death in early 2011 meant the project didn’t proceed.

Tweedie at the National Library of Australia
Having unsuccessfully sought over some years to determine the fate of Tweedie’s collection, we were delighted to learn recently that her son Ben had donated her lifetime’s photographic record to the National Library of Australia in 2013.

The collection is a large and complex mix of original film negatives, contact and full-size prints, transparencies, notebooks and correspondence. Timor is a tiny fragment of the whole collection; Tweedie covered many conflict situations in other countries and is particularly well-known for her striking images of indigenous Australians.

See the National Library’s catalogue entry and collection list for more details.

See also CHART’s extract from the NLA’s collection list to point directly to the disparate Timor elements in the Tweedie collection.

Click image to view visual guide to collection

 

Visual guide to Penny Tweedie Timor images
CHART has prepared a visual guide to all Tweedie images from August/September 1975.

With the permission of Ben Tweedie, who inherited legal copyright ownership of the images, we have created low-resolution copies of Tweedie’s contact prints* of all her 1975 film negatives. We have supplemented the images with very brief descriptions of the content of each contact print.

Our purpose in doing this is to inform all East Timor history researchers and Timor-Leste archival institutions of the range of Tweedie’s Timor images and her particular contribution to the historical record.

Note on access and use restrictions
These images may not be reproduced elsewhere without prior permission. Requests for higher resolution copies of any of the images for any purpose must first be directed to the National Library of Australia.*


*Notes:

UDT: União Democrática Timorense / Timorese Democratic Union.

CAVR: Comissão de Acolhimento, Verdade e Reconciliação / Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation.

Contact prints: These are direct, original size positive copies of the original film negatives. They were used in the pre-digital-camera era to identify and select images for reproduction. In the case of the Tweedie Timor items, the negatives were standard 35×24 mm black and white film.

Contacting National Library of Australia: See links from NLA’s catalogue entry for Tweedie collection.


Michael Richardson Photographs, 1975

4 April 2018

Australian journalist Michael Richardson’s photographs and reportage from pre-invasion Timor-Leste have a special place in the new nation’s history. We present here a large sample of his 1975 images and seek reader assistance to identify names and places for the long-term historical record.

Fretilin’s unilateral declaration of independence, Dili, 28 November 1975. [Michael Richardson / The Age]

Michael Richardson, South-East Asia correspondent for The Age newspaper (Melbourne), visited Portuguese East Timor and Indonesia several times in 1974-75. From both sides of the Indonesian border in late September 1975 he reported the last days of the civil war, seeing retreating UDT leaders move into Indonesian West Timor. In November/December, he reported and photographed pre-invasion Indonesian military operations in Timor and Fretilin’s unilateral declaration of independence on 28 November 1975.

With journalist Jill Jolliffe and humanitarian aid workers, Richardson was evacuated from Dili just days before the main Indonesian invasion of 7 December 1975. His photographs are a unique and irreplaceable record of these critical moments in Timor-Leste’s pre-invasion history.

Re-discovering the photographs

In recent years CHART and others have unsuccessfully searched for original print copies or film negatives of Richardson’s images. Requests for searches of The Age archives  have resulted in advice from Fairfax (the newspaper’s owners) that the negatives are probably lost.

CHART’s chance online discovery early this year of Michael Richardson’s Timor research papers at the ADFA/University of NSW library in Canberra opened a new avenue of inquiry. With the help of Professor Clinton Fernandes and special collections staff at the library, we were able to confirm the existence of good quality print copies of many of the journalist’s Timor photographs from late 1975.

The Photograph Collection

ADFA/UNSW is now adding photographic data to their original contents-list of the broader Michael Richardson papers. In concert with the library, we present here low-resolution copies of all the photographs, along with an invitation to readers to assist identifying any content (names, places etc).

We have divided the collection into five ‘galleries’. Each ‘gallery’ is based on the original film roll number recorded on the back of each photographic print.

Click on the gallery headings below to see each print set, provisional captions and instructions on how to add information or commentary to any individual image.

Film Roll 1: UDT and others in East/West border area
Includes late September 1975 images of some of the UDT leaders, Batugade fort, refugees, Portuguese soldiers held captive by UDT and Indonesia, Atambua refugee camp.

Film Roll 2: Declaration of Independence, 28 November 1975
Partial record of Fretilin’s unilateral declaration of independence and associated Falintil troop parade. Roll may also include some images of Richardson’s earlier journey with Jill Jolliffe and Rogerio Lobato to Atabae to witness Indonesian military actions.

Film Roll 3: Scenes from Dili & Atauro, December 1975
This sequence appears to record Richardson’s final day(s) in Dili and departure to Atauro before evacuation to Darwin. Includes portraits of individuals and unidentified pilots and Portuguese naval and military personnel.

Film Roll 4: Scenes from Dili and north coast, November 1975
Includes various buildings around Dili, a series on (Apodeti?) prisoners, Falintil troops on drill exercises. May also include some images from the Richardson, Jolliffe, Lobato journey to Atabae / Loes River area.

Film Roll X: Scenes from Indonesian West Timor, September 1975
Appears to depict refugees in West Timor and an Indonesian military parade (in Atambua?). A few images only; may be fragments from the same border area series in Roll 1 above.

Accessing Michael Richardson’s photographs
In a gesture that we hope many others will follow, Michael Richardson has given ADFA/UNSW permission for the images to be copied and used for research and publishing purposes with only one condition: That all image use includes credit to Michael Richardson / The Age.

Good quality ‘medium resolution’ digital copies of the images are available for download from the ADFA/UNSW library’s online guide to the Michael Richardson papers. (Note: scroll to end of the guide web page). High resolution copies are available from the library on request.

The ‘missing’ images
Sadly, not all of Richardson’s images from late 1975 are to be found in his archival collection. Some key ones are missing, including his published images of Indonesian naval ships and aircraft operating off the north coast.

For a guide to other missing known images see this collage and view CHART’s checklist of film negative numbers and physical prints.

We can only hope that, in time, the original film negatives are found at The Age and/or some of the missing prints will turn up in other personal archival collections.

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Grateful thanks to ADFA/UNSW special collections staff Rose Holley and Paul Dalgleish for their ongoing work to bring these images into the public arena. Thanks to Domingos de Oliveira for helping with captions for Richardson’s September 1975 images from border zone. Also thanks to Clinton Fernandes (ADFA), Will Jones at Fairfax Media and Anya Dettman (National Library of Australia) for their assistance in tracking down the photographs.


Access to CHART digital files

5 September 2017

We are delighted to announce the launch of CHART Digital – a website to access digital materials created by Clearing House for Archival Records on Timor (CHART) Inc.

CHART Digital is a project to provide access to some digital files on Timor-Leste history, 1974-1999. The digital files were created in the course of CHART work on privately-held Australian collections.

CHART Digital is an interim access step. The original physical collections must ultimately be secured in a public library or archive. CHART Digital provides access to digital copies of some of these materials while decisions are made about where to permanently house the physical collections.

We expect CHART Digital to provide a unique Australian supplement to the extensive online collections already available through the Timorese Resistance Archive & Museum and CIDAC.

Modest beginnings
This online resource begins with one collection – the Timor papers of former Senator Gordon McIntosh. Many of the working files of McIntosh’s time in the Australian Senate (1974-1987) have been digitised and are accessible on CHART Digital. We also selected a small number of individual documents to exhibit the range of material to be found in the larger collection.

Digital files from other collections will be added to the website as time and resources permit. These include, for example, materials from Timor Information Service (1975-1983) and the Australian Council for Overseas Aid (ACFOA) Human Rights office, 1978-2000.

Feedback wanted
We are calling CHART Digital a pilot project. We are keen to get feedback from researchers on the design of the website and any difficulties experienced in finding or accessing material.

Please let us know what you think by way of a ‘Comment’ (see below) or emailing us at: chart[at] timorarchives.info


Resistance radio 1975-1978

21 April 2016

Recordings of radio communications and broadcasts from the Fretilin-led resistance in the early occupation years are rare historical primary-source materials. We present information on known surviving copies and introduce a project to give access to them in Timor-Leste.

Alarico Fernandes, November 1975. The main voice of resistance radio until his surrender/capture with the radio in late 1978. [Photo: Jim Dunn]

Alarico Fernandes, November 1975. The main voice of resistance radio until his surrender/capture in late 1978. [Photo: Jim Dunn]

Alarico Fernandes’ desperate radio transmission (see sample below) from Dili on 7 December 1975, describing the full-scale Indonesian invasion of the newly-declared Democratic Republic of East Timor (RDTL), marked the beginning of three years of direct resistance contact with Australia and the outside world. The radio communications were the only regular source of information from East Timor not controlled by the Indonesian military in those early years.

Australian and East Timorese activists in Darwin conducted clandestine, coded, two-way radio contact for communications between the internal and external wings of the resistance. Occasional uncoded contacts and regular broadcasts from East Timor under the name of Radio Maubere, were also recorded by the activists for later transcription and reporting to solidarity groups and mainstream media.

The public transmissions from Timor reported on all aspects of occupation and resistance inside the territory. Extracts or summaries of then-public material can now be found online in the CHART-digitised, pre-1979 copies of CIET mimeographs, East Timor News and Timor Information Service.

While a definitive history of this part of the broader Timor story has yet to be written, published accounts of the transmission and recording operations at the Australian end can be found in the writings of activist participants Brian Manning, Chris Elenor and Rob Wesley-Smith.

Surviving recordings
Some 250 audiocassettes of resistance radio material is known by CHART to survive in Australia. Almost all surviving tapes are recordings of public radio material; very few internal or coded messages are known. The largest public collection comes from the archives of Melbourne’s Timor Information Service (TIS) and is held at the National Film & Sound Archive (NFSA) in Canberra (see partial list on NFSA catalogue). Other material is still held privately, including a few items owned by Rob Wesley-Smith who recorded them with his own receiver.

rmtapes-summary

Numbers of radio transmission recordings known to CHART to still exist in Australia.

As the figure above shows, we know of no recordings from the very early post-invasion months and the record of the controversial last period of contact in late 1978 is incomplete. It remains to be seen whether more recordings will emerge within Australia or from the archives of the Fretilin external leadership at that time.

Samples
We present here a few fragments of radio transmissions recorded in Australia. Click red ‘play’ button to listen.


Short fragment of Alarico Fernandes reporting full-scale Indonesian invasion of Dili. 00:13 (mins:secs). Source: East Timor Calling/Rod Harris collection. 


The opening segment of a standard Radio Maubere broadcast. 05:41. Source: Rob Wesley-Smith


Alarico Fernandes dictates a message from East Timor Red Cross in resistance-held areas to be forwarded to International Red Cross. 01:51. Source: Rob Wesley-Smith.


Excerpt from Nicolau Lobato speech following the 1977  arrest and expulsion of Xavier do Amaral from his positions as President of Fretilin and the Democratic Republic of East Timor. 05:20. Source: Timor Information Service / NFSA


Small fragments from the final days of radio contact. (1) Coded message from Alarico Fernandes; (2) Awkward two-way exchange between Fernandes and the Australian activist operator; (3) Rogerio Lobato sending repeated message to (unsuccesfully) re-establish radio contact with Timor. 02:57. Source: Rob Wesley-Smith.

Access in Timor-Leste
In concert with Australia’s NFSA and Timor’s Resistance Archive and Museum (AMRT), CHART has initiated a project to make radio recordings available for research and exhibition in Timor-Leste.

The TIS collection of some 200 recordings was deposited with NFSA in 2002. These recordings were given to TIS in the late 1970s by key Timor and radio contact activist, Denis Freney. All recordings have since been professionally digitised by NFSA for long-term preservation and access.

In July 2015, CHART and AMRT signed an agreement for a pilot project on transfer of recordings to Timor-Leste. In exchange for digital copies of recordings, AMRT staff will create, and copy to NFSA, textual summaries of recording content to assist researcher access. At the conclusion of the pilot project some time in 2016, the parties will review the process and decide on the next steps to ensure eventual access in Timor-Leste to available radio recordings.


Kevin Sherlock Collection: Work in progress

28 September 2015

The late Kevin Sherlock, Timor bibliographer and collector extraordinaire, willed his outstanding archive to the Charles Darwin University Library. CHART’s John Waddingham and Cecily Gilbert have just completed two weeks in Darwin assisting the Library to prepare the collection for researcher access.

Kevin Sherlock with his expanding collection, c1980s. [Source: ETRA Archives]

Kevin Sherlock with his expanding collection, c1980s. [Source: ETRA Archives]

Hundreds of Timor-related books and journals collected by Kevin Sherlock are now visible through the CDU Library catalogue. Arrangement and description of Kevin’s vast collection of other collected materials and his own bibliographic and research work on them remains a work in progress.

The document archive
The large non-monograph component of the collection is visually dominated by labelled folders containing collected articles, pamphlets and unpublished items,’chronological files’ containing copies of Portuguese official bulletins from the mid-19th century and newsclippings up to mid-2014. Additionally, Kevin constructed from these collected sources, compilations of colonial-era materials on a range of research topics like administration, health, education, shipping, roads and buildings.

Complementing these folders is a bewildering array of hand-written and typed indices, along with a comprehensive record of correspondence with authors, academics, journalists and activists from around the world who sought Kevin’s always-generous sharing of knowledge, materials and meticulous proof reading expertise.

The particular strength of the collection is its assemblage of pre-1975 Portuguese colonial era materials already mentioned. The post-1975 materials is predominantly published materials from the many actors in the East Timor political issue, including a fair sample of rarely-seen Indonesian government items and a good number of unpublished academic higher-degree theses.

More detail on the collection contents can be seen in Kevin’s 450-page, but incomplete, 2002 shelf list.

CHART’s work
Our first task was to restore order to the hundreds of labelled folders and then add to them a significant number of unlabelled folders.

More difficult was the substantial volume of loose or unstructured materials. These were a surprise given Kevin’s very evident devotion to order but are perhaps a reflection of seriously declining health over his final decade. Our approach was to derive a provisional list of folder sequences or ‘series’ from the labelled folders and sort the loose papers into manilla folder sequences reflecting that list.

The end product of our work for the CDU Library will be data about the collection in the form of a ‘finding aid’ for researchers to gain an overview of the collection structure and to identify materials they wish to examine.

Labelled folders: Chronologies, compilations, indexes, correspondence and much more.

Labelled folders: Chronologies, compilations, indexes, correspondence and much more. [CHART photo]

Missing Kevin
This is a seriously impressive research collection which will be much consulted in the years to come. What is clearly missing from it is Kevin himself. He was the living key to exploiting the richness of his holdings. It will take some time for archivists and researchers to unlock some of the secrets of his indexing work and filing systems to again realise the full value of his materials.

Kevin is however present in another way. The collection as a whole, and in its many parts, is an enduring testament to this extraordinary person. For a tiny taste: a sample of his data sources research for others, his quiet humour, and a note on Dili’s ‘oldest building’ – the latter being exactly the kind of work that earned him the ‘Sherlock Holmes’ moniker from one long-time correspondent.

Accessing the collection
CDU Library is preparing to launch the collection and make it available for researcher access. The exact timing remains unclear; the Library is rightly ensuring that they first have systems in place to protect the physical integrity of the collection for the generations of researchers to come.

Pictures of CHART Work, Darwin, 10-23 September 2015

An archivist's joy: A grand mix of labelled folders, journals and unsorted document clumps.

An archivist’s bread and butter: A grand mix of labelled folders, journals and unsorted document clumps.

Sorting the unsorted (shelves at right) into folders and then into archive boxes (rear, left). {CHART photo]

Sorting the unsorted (on shelves at right) into folders (on table) and then into archive boxes (rear, left). [CHART photo]

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Teamwork: Adding unique number IDs to folders (John) and updating collection data (Cecily). [CHART photo]

More of those sorted, Kevin Sherlock-labelled folders. [CHART photo]

More of those sorted, Kevin Sherlock-labelled folders. [CHART photo]

In progress: Thirty archive boxes (at left) of now-sorted but not fully described materials. [CHART photo]

In progress: Thirty archive boxes (at left) of now-sorted but not fully described materials. [CHART photo]

Introducing the Sherlock collection to a CDU 'Engagement with Timor-Leste' seminar, 21 Sept 2015. [Source: CDU]

Introducing the Sherlock collection to a CDU ‘Engagement with Timor-Leste’ seminar, 21 Sept 2015. [Source: CDU]

CDU Library Director Ruth Quinn with some of the catalogued monographs in the Sherlock Collection. [CHART photo]

CDU Library Director Ruth Quinn, responsible for arrangements with Kevin over his bequest, with some of the catalogued monographs in the Sherlock Collection. [CHART photo]

Acknowledgements
Many thanks to CDU Library for covering travel and other costs for our work in Darwin. Particular thanks to the retiring CDU Director of Library Services, Ruth Quinn, CDU archivist Stephen Hamilton, and Palmerston campus librarian Tita Allom and staff for their friendly welcome and support.

Many thanks also to Mauri Heading SJ for his generous provision of always-comradely accommodation. And to Flavia Pires, a long-time friend and help for Kevin, and who spread his ashes in the Timor mountains, for her friendly support.